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CIO Spotlight: Mark Settle, Okta

Digital transformation is a hot industry buzzword, but for Settle it's become a "cringe-worthy" term. Still, he says, because collaboration tools are key to digitally transforming the way people work, their selection should not be left to chance.

mark settle okta

Settle is a seven-time CIO with broad business experience in information services, enterprise software, consumer products, high tech distribution, financial services, and oil & gas. He has led IT organizations that supported the global operations of Fortune 500 companies, maintained the R&D infrastructure required for software product development, and hosted customer-facing delivery systems for commercial products and services. He sits on the advisory boards of several Silicon Valley venture capital firms and pioneered the adoption of service management and cloud computing technologies within several large enterprises. Here, he shares his career path and offers advice for aspiring CIOs.

What was your first job? My first full time job after college was as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. My first commercial job was as a Research Director at ARCO’s R&D lab in Dallas, Texas.

Did you always want to work in IT? I couldn’t even spell IT when I was in school! I learned how to program, but had no interest in computer systems or software engineering.

Tell us about your career path. I would characterize my career path as opportunistic. That’s a polite way of saying that I’ve bounced around a bit. I’ve been fortunate to work in a series of companies that vary significantly in terms of their size, location and industry. Nevertheless, the central theme of my post-geology career has always been technology management.

What business or technology initiatives will be most significant in driving IT investments in your organization in the coming year? We’ll be making investments in three key areas in 2018:

We currently employ over 150 software as a service (SaaS) applications to support our internal business processes. We have no legacy on-premises business applications. We can easily add or subtract individual applications to our SaaS portfolio as we expand the scale and complexity of our business operations. In 2018, we’ll be investing in new capabilities to support our sales and marketing efforts in general, and our partner distribution channel in particular.

Another focus area is endpoint security. We have a formal bring your own device (BYOD) policy regarding employee devices, so it’s critical that we secure access to company information from a wide variety of end-user platforms.

And finally, we’ll continue to make investments in collaboration tools. These are becoming increasingly important as we open new offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

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